Blocs doesn't seem very flexible... or am I doing it wrong?

I’ve been trying to do a few design details, and I’m struggling with getting Blocs to do anything that isn’t a pre-canned.

Simple things, like a picture layer that is positioned half over two blocs of different backgrounds. But struggling. Any support for layers? Can’t seem to arbitrarily move the the picture object to where I want, even though that is supposed to be a feature in Blocs 3.

Tried to make an icon menu bar. Again problems.

Downloaded Sparkle, and it “just works”. But I see a community who seems to really like Blocs. How do you get it to handle freeform design?

Blocs isn’t freeform, it respects the basics of responsive web design, structure, well formed code are the qualities that exists in a Blocs site.

You’ll spend a lot of time getting your sparkle site right on the thousands of different device screen sizes as it’s not a true responsive site builder. Try and create an edge to edge design or a masonry gallery.

But if Sparkle works for you that’s great and all that matters really :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Hi,

If you haven’t already checked the Getting Started with Blocs 3 course, take a loot at the video below, which shows how to use the available freehand controls features in Blocs.

Cheers,
Eldar

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Hi taharvey – Thought I’d chime in here cause I really relate to your frustrations, but I no longer feel that way…though it took me a long while to get to where I am, along with the arrival of Blocs 3 with all it’s improvements, as I began with Blocs 2.

My journey began when my favorite Muse - a true free form website builder – was announced by Adobe of its demise, and so I began to seek alternatives, which included looking at sparkle.

To cut to the essence of the issue: You have to learn to think differently when using a framework like Bootstrap, which Blocs is based on, and which appears to constrain placement in order to be more efficient for designing across different screen sizes. So, it feels like a loss (it hurt for me at first) when you are wanting to be spontaneously painterly on the canvas, but It’s a loss in order to achieve a valuable gain.

As a framework/grid application, Blocs is just plain old different than sparkle and what muse was, and so to really master it you have to get to know this really well, and how to make it work for you.

I’m just about to complete my first site in Blocs, which is replicating my old beloved Muse designed site, and though it was a struggle and came with a learning curve, with persistence (from necessity) and with the support from this excellent forum – though initially a bit frustrating – and especially Eldar’s training videos, I can say I’m happier with Blocs than I was with Muse, which I truly loved for what I could do with it.

So, if you have the stomach for it, hang in there, watch Eldar’s free videos, and see if you can adapt to this very different, but effective tool.

Hope that helps!

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:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@taharvey, Is this a sleeper / burner account to promote Sparkle? You signed up before Blocs 3 released, and this is your first post basically saying Sparkle is better? Why not instead take time to participate in the forum, read the documentation, spend time learning the apps features, etc., and ask specific questions to get help for the things you are seeking to achieve?

As @DanielF posted, it will take time as a new user, or if coming from another app, but the reward for the efforts will pay off with time. @Eldar has wonderful learning resources, both free and paid, if needed they would be worth the investment to learn all about Blocs.

Yes, exactly.

Here is a good example which was recently posted on Sparkles twitter feed.

https://www.rickveeken.nl/

I added the red outlines to show its not as freeform as people think, you may place things freeform on the page but the box model, rows, columns, etc., remain present. But inherent responsive aspects are not present without further work in the app by its users. So is that really a desirable tradeoff? Most users don’t seem to be taking the time to correct the issues that app demonstrates with the extra needed steps regarding responsiveness across devices.

Sure it looks nice at a glance, but it is more of a testament to a talented photographer instead of the web app it was assembled in. Its also a good example of how quality photography can benefit any website.

But when viewed on mobile devices should pinch & zoom and horizontal scroll be default requirements for reading simple body copy on a modern website?

Thats not the idea of responsive websites, but by default Sparkle just shrinks the text and most users don’t take the needed steps to correct it, you see this issue and much more concerning non-responsive sites made by that apps users. So thats one example of what happens with such apps that are not fully responsive with their inbuilt workflow.

Blocs by comparison is fully responsive. With over 50% of all website visits being done on mobile devices that should be more important to you than initial free form design in an app. The end result and user experience should be what is paramount. I’m fully confident that Blocs will only get more designer friendly as it quickly advances. While Sparkle has had these issues regarding responsiveness or users not fully understanding it and releasing sites with responsive issues for quite a while.

@Eldar could probably quickly rebuild that above site in Blocs to be truly responsive. :wink:

Here are a few of his demonstrated site rebuilds converted to Blocs if you never saw them.

I think you would be surprised how capable Blocs is and how rapidly it is being advanced by @Norm compared to the app you mentioned. I suggest you invest more time in learning Blocs and its capabilities, your time will be rewarded. I think in the future you will be more happy with your choice.

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I looked at Sparkle before I purchased Blocs, bloc’s just has a lot more to offer than Sparkle, it actually blows it away, I was a big Rapid Weaver user before bloc’s and I am so glad I purchased Bloc’s, it just works for me as RW was so tedious, and my work load is better now for me as it just make sense and is faster for what I want to do and how I want to do it.

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As a former and still very occasional Rapidweaver user I fully agree with your thoughts about it being slow and tedious. Yes it will do an awful lot if you have bucket loads of patience and a willingness to keep spending for add-ons, but fortunately we have Blocs as an alternative, which is improving at a much faster rate.

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mikenbrenda – I looked around at other options when Muse took a nose dive, and I took a look at Rapidweaver as well, but all the add-ons made it not attractive…so glad Blocs 3 came out…as it has ended my search…! And I trust it will continue to mature and develop with extras…like hopefully a Blog Bric that’s easy to use, and has only a one-time purchase and hosted on your own server…Blog Bric for Blocs?

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You can’t imagine how many add-ons I had to buy to do anything, then to keep track of them and their examples, it looks cool when your going to buy, then gets more complicated down the road… it’s crazy, so glad you did not buy it like i did…but that was a few years ago, so oh well for me… but yes a blog feature would be nice…and on my own server…for sure…

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Thanks for all the responses. But I’m still hitting my head. Gave the job to my Graphic Designer for the last 2 weeks, she’s tripping all over Blocs too.

Take a simple case. Put the edge-to-edge carousel block in. Comes with a “Caption area”. Not sure why it starts with an opinionated idea of where the caption is, but ok it’s a place holder.

So I add my caption. But, I don’t want it in the lower quarter of the carousel, but the upper quarter. Seem like a simple fix … so I drag the “set top margin” handle. Great, looks right… until you change the window width and it starts floating up and down. Not at all the behavior it had before adjusting its location. Clearly the added margin is anchored to the bottom of the block, not top, not clear how you change that(?)

Same thing with caption width. I need it wider. Don’t know why the default caption area is set to ~70% of screen width, but don’t see where to change it. So I tried changing the width to 120% to compensate. But now it is off-center. Make sure paragraph style is centered, and alignment is centered, yup. But still off-centered.

Freeform is misleading, I’m looking to just get to 1st base. What I am missing?

hi - not sure if I’m following your description…I personally haven’t used the Carousel Bic, but brics come from Bootstrap functionality, so you should be able to gain control over them as long as it’s supported by Boostrap, that is with out adding overriding code. (I think this is true, but experts–I’m definitely not one of them–on the forum may correct my understanding)

That said, check out this video which shows how to control each bloc’s margin/padding across different break points (i.e. Bootstrap / Blocs device screen sizes)…this was a bit tricky for me at first, until I learned more about how the application works. Perhaps this will help you as well…

Thanks. But not related. I did figure out that the Caption area is pre-canned as part of the carousel, but if you go to the carousel object in the navigation, you can select top, mid, bottom.

Still haven’t figured out the caption width issue. See below. It wants it to be 70% of the screen width. I want it to be wider. How? It seem somewhere there should be a setting that is default to ~70% the width of the screen, and could be changed to 85%. Can’t find anything.

This may be worth looking into: 1) there may be a pre-canned class that controls the caption width; 2) make a class to control it, and set the dimensions as you wish.

Do you know how to use Blocs Preview In Browser Inspector? You can check out what Class is controlling the Caption…and then gain control over it.

Here’s is what you will find – you can see the ~30% is coming from the left/right position of %15 each side…

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Here’s what you can do with creating the custom class carousel-caption as discovered in the inspector.

Set the width to whatever, and then add padding / margin to refine it more…and do this per screen size to meet your design needs.

Morning … took a little time to think on this, and so here’s what I think you want to be able to achieve --this is responsive for all screen device sizes in the program:

here’s the bloc file to look at the Class Editor to see the settings…other’s may have a more elegant way of achieving this…this is just one way I can see… carousel.bloc (726.6 KB)




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Thanks Daniel. I looked at the file

Not sure I understood how you got it centered without having the text centered.
Shouldn’t there be an easy way to override the carousel-caption CSS from left/right 15% to 10% or something similar?

It appears the Caption is in its own Div, and so I overrode the width of the Div by using VW setting in the Dimension box of the Class Editor…I didn’t even need to use the Carousel-Caption class…and then used padding to shift it around more…there may be other ways to achieve this, as I’m certainly no expert here (far from it).

Well, ‘ease’ has to do with knowledge, and learning how to it in Blocs. Once you learn it, I suspect you will consider it ‘easy’…or least ‘easier’ than how it feels right now…

The most important message to take away is that Blocs works the way Blocs works, and though it can be frustrating to have to learn a new tool when you just want to get stuff done, and also unlearn whatever history you may have with another app and how you could get stuff done with it, you simply have to spend the time to learn how to make this tool work.

Not only has this forum been super supportive and helpful to me, Eldar’s courses are a must if you really want to learn how to use Blocs…

When I say “easy”: Just drawing would be easy, but not structured. Making custom CSS would also be easy, and structured, but slower.

Blocs seems easy if you are going pre-baked website, but very constrained and get custom results without getting hacky.

I hear you…and, this is very much the kind of thoughts I had as i was learning (and continue to learn) how to make Blocs work for me…of course I came from Muse, and had many years with it, so as the old saying goes ‘its hard to teach an old dog knew tricks’ and I certainly felt that challenge.

But I’ve stuck with it, and after a steep and frustrating learning curve, I have been able to recreate my Muse website in Blocs…something I couldn’t imagine when I hit the first road blocs (pun intended…lol).

The only thing I couldn’t recreate was a 3rd party Blog/CMS widget, so my blog pages in Blocs are simulated, but work fine for me as I’m an infrequent writer.

If you want to see a comparison, here’s a link to my live Muse built website: www.danielfactor.com and here’s a link to my ‘private-test’ blocs site, which I’m still refining: www.blocs.danielfactor.com

I’m not a web designer, and don’t attest to much design skill…but my site suits my needs.

Beyond that, conversations like these are so very subjective…and with that in mind, I’m sure you will make a website-building tool selection that will work for you…as much as feasible, which usually includes frustrations and sweaty solution seeking efforts, that at first seem counter-intuitive, but eventually become workable.

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It appears the Blocs site is faster. I waited too long for the Muse site to load.

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